In international circles, Nasheed attracted attention for his climate campaigning. The Maldives are a low-lying chain of islands in the Indian Ocean, and climate-driven sea level rise could consume them. In 2009, Nasheed promised his country would be carbon-neutral within a decade. He held a cabinet meeting underwater as a publicity stunt calling attention to the danger of climate change. He also looked into a plan to relocate Maldives citizens to less threatened islands, although he faced some public opposition, as he told Foreign Policy in 2010. After a woman bit and kicked him at the suggestion of moving to a neighboring island, he was forced to conclude that "Maldivians do not want to leave their homeland."
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Sarah Laskow is a reporter based in New York City who covers environment, energy, and sustainability issues, among other things. Follow her on Twitter.